One-woman protest over Telecom tower

SARAH-JANE O'CONNOR
Last updated 10:19 28/03/2014
Gerry Brownlee and Karen Crisp
Iain McGregor

PROTEST ACTION: Gerry Brownlee gets involved in Karen Crisp's protest against a Telecom tower.

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A one-woman protest has temporarily stopped Telecom from erecting a cell phone tower on a busy Christchurch corner.

Karen Crisp, owner of Bryndwr pharmacy Crisp's Healthy Living, parked her car on the work site outside her business at 6.45am and prepared for a fight.

She was unhappy about the cell phone tower going up outside her business, on the corner of Greers and Waikarei roads.

She said the tower would take up valuable space on the footpath and there had been no consultation. The first she knew about it was when the contractors turned up on Tuesday morning.

Crisp was warned by police that if she did not move they could arrest her for obstructing the contractors' work. She was getting ready to move when a member of staff from Ilam MP Gerry Brownlee's office arrived.

Brownlee arrived not long after and after speaking to Crisp he made several calls, including to Telecom.

Not long after Brownlee's arrival, a resolution was reached. Crisp would move her car and Telecom would consider alternatives for the tower's location.

Crisp was still spoken to by police about an incident this morning when she drove the car onto the work site. No charges have been laid.

Crisp said she was grateful for the minister's help and was pleased with the resolution.

Although she had not heard from Telecom directly today, she said there seemed to be "a lot of people working in the background".

Telecom Head of Public Affairs Conor Roberts said the company had obtained all necessary consents for the installation and did not believe it was an "unreasonable obstruction to the shop".

But he said Telecom was happy to look at another location for the service cabinet, and appreciated Brownlee's help with the matter.

"In the end, Telecom needs to find places to locate these sites."

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- The Press

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